by David P. Greisman
Photo by Mary Ann Owen/FightWireImages.com
Logic dictates that the career of Shane Mosley should be going nowhere but downhill.
The numbers add up and load the equation. Age? 35. Experience? Twenty-five years in boxing, fourteen as a pro. Weight? 147 pounds. After four years of campaigning at junior middleweight, Mosley is hoping that he can regain his young form in his old weight class. And in attempting to succeed where others have failed, Mosley is taking on the most indefatigable of foes – history.
Mosley, though, is already well acquainted with the situation thanks to years of training camps at Big Bear in California. With altitude comes seclusion, and from isolation comes peace, the lack of distractions while “Sugar Shane” prepares for big challenges and big fights. So for nearly a decade, Mosley has let loose by snowboarding, that rapid rush from the highest peaks to the lowest valleys. He knows what it is to be down. And he is familiar with what it takes to climb back up that mountain.
In 1999, Mosley ventured directly from lightweight to welterweight, a smaller man in the land of the large. He became champion. And then Vernon Forrest gave him his first loss. Undaunted, Mosley looked up at his lengthy foe and went back to climbing. Once more, defeat. Sisyphus never had it so rough.
A wiser man realizes his limits. Wiser men, however, know not how to dream, and they sure as heck never reach the sky.
Mosley jumped to junior middleweight, once more topping rival and Big Bear buddy Oscar De La Hoya. A recreational climb against Ricardo Mayorga was abandoned when Mayorga lost to Cory Spinks, leaving Winky Wright looming large on Mosley’s horizon.
But like Forrest, Mount Wright was too big, too steep. And just as against Forrest, Mosley lost to Wright twice.
Down, down, down and down once more. With four losses on his formerly unblemished ledger, Mosley announced a return to welterweight. Twice in 2005, Mosley tipped the scales at 148, but he looked less than stellar in wins over David Estrada and Jose Luis Cruz.
Up and up. Those two wins, however, propelled Mosley into megafights against Fernando Vargas, bouts contested back up at junior middleweight. Mosley won each fight by stoppage – but more importantly, Mosley looked fast and fluid, and the matches sold well on pay-per-view.
With this past weekend’s unanimous decision over Luis Collazo, Shane Mosley returned to welterweight voluntarily, triumphantly and apparently in his old young form. Yet more significant than his quick footwork and hand speed was the fact that Mosley threw combinations.
As a junior middleweight, Mosley tended to load up for single shots under the theory that toppling bigger men required bigger power. He lifted weights and sprouted serious muscles, drawing scrutiny when his name was associated with the BALCO steroids scandal.
After the first loss to Wright, Mosley admitted that he felt sluggish, and he gave up the weights. Now that he is once again a welterweight, Mosley retains an impressive physique without inflexible musculature. Looser, he is a winner.
The numbers add up and load the equation. Age? 35. A wise veteran. Experience? Twenty-five years in boxing, fourteen as a pro. As shown against Collazo, Mosley knows how to adjust, how to win. Weight? 147 pounds. Where he belongs. No one in history has returned to his former weight class after so long and achieved the same level of success. Mosley, however, is like history – indefatigable. He’s up for the challenge. He will scale that mountain.
The 10 Count
1. Despite losing to Mosley, Luis Collazo shouldn’t be written off as an inconsequential member of the welterweight division. Collazo is similar to Cory Spinks – a boxer who lacks knockout power but is at his best against slower power punchers. Collazo should rebuild and then seek potential bouts against Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron and David Estrada.
2. On the undercard of Mosley-Collazo, Vivian Harris and Juan Lazcano put on a tussle that wasn’t overly exciting but held interest with its numerous shifts in momentum.
The first two rounds were all Harris, as the Guyanese-born Brooklynite used his superior reach to jab and throw combos while keeping Lazcano safely at distance. Lazcano, though, worked his way inside, digging into Harris’ ribs and landing short shots upstairs. In essence, it was a closely contested battle of attrition that both men will benefit from.
Harris, who pulled out a close unanimous decision victory, is now the number one contender for Junior Witter’s junior welterweight title. Lazcano, meanwhile, has shown that he, too, belongs in the 140-pound picture, although his next step is uncertain.
3. Hidden in the closing credits of HBO’s broadcast was this little gem, reprinted verbatim: “HBO Sports is producing a documentary on Joe Louis. If you have any stories to share please contact HBO toll free 1-877-4308 or email: email@example.com .”
Now it’s bad enough that this notice was displayed like a commercial disclaimer, especially as HBO could have easily put some footage together into a short in-broadcast solicitation. But did anyone at the network even realize that the phone number was incomplete?
For the record, anyone with Joe Louis stories, photos or memorabilia can contact HBO toll free at 1-877-643-4308, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
4. Boxers Behaving Badly, part one: Cruiserweight champion O’Neil Bell was arrested Feb. 4 for allegedly throwing a hatchet and rocks at sparring partner Larry Slayton during a training run in Big Bear, Calif., according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Bell, who is scheduled for a March 17 rematch against Jean-Marc Mormeck, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and was released on $50,000 bail.
5. Boxers Behaving Badly, part two: Jermain Taylor is facing civil lawsuits from two women who allege that the middleweight champion improperly touched them during a September comedy show in Arkansas, according to the Associated Press.
The plaintiffs – Jeanine Morse and Yvette McCarty – have accused Taylor of grabbing Morse’s breasts and kissing McCarty. Each woman is asking for a minimum of $75,000 in compensation, along with attorney’s fees and any additional punitive damages.
Taylor issued a statement proclaiming his innocence.
“I have been falsely accused of improper behavior,” Taylor said. “It’s a shame that people will go this far for financial gain and try to damage my name. I have always conducted myself with others in the most respectful way.”
Attorney Stephanie Chamberlin, who is representing both women, dismisses the implication that the lawsuits are motivated by money.
“Neither one of these women knew of [Taylor’s] celebrity status,” Chamberlin said. “My clients would have sued anyone that walked up to them and did the same things he did.”
Yet it seems strange to this scribe that this lawsuit comes without criminal charges being filed, and after Chamberlin attempted to negotiate a settlement but was rebuffed by Taylor and his attorney.
6. Following up on the domestic violence allegations against HBO play-by-play announcer Jim Lampley, a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21 concerning the temporary restraining order that has prohibited Lampley from contact with former girlfriend Candice Sanders, according to San Diego television station KGTV.
Prosecutors have not yet filed a criminal case against Lampley, who was arrested and charged Jan. 3 with felony domestic violence and is under investigation for potential misdemeanor charges of violating a restraining order and dissuading a witness.
Lampley has said that he is not guilty of domestic abuse.
7. Roy Jones played a starring role on last week’s episode of Pros vs. Joes, beating up on three no-hopers in action eerily similar to the former champion’s series of pay-per-view and HBO mismatches.
In the first portion of the show, Jones met each contestant for a single three-minute round, tapping the wannabes with punches that Ivan Calderon would’ve laughed off. Yet the Joes couldn’t take it – Rodney Williams had to take a knee, and the two others who went the distance took shot after shot while landing next to nothing.
Williams and Matt Thompson faced Jones again in the show’s final segment, with each Joe having one minute to land five punches. Thompson was only able to hit Jones twice, but Williams made up for his earlier showing by tagging Jones five times in 19 seconds. Williams went on to win the show.
8. With Freddie Roach training Oscar De La Hoya for the latter’s May 5 superfight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., many of Roach’s fighters were left to fend for themselves despite having important upcoming bouts. Peter Manfredo Jr., however, chose to compensate by bringing in Sugar Ray Leonard for the former’s April 7 bout with super middleweight titlist Joe Calzaghe.
What appears to be major news, however, may be more comparable to when Michael Jordan became president of basketball operations and minority owner of the Washington Wizards. And it’s not like Leonard can come out of retirement to join Manfredo in the ring.
“I’m not a trainer, but my skill is in tactics and strategy,” Leonard said in a press release.
In all likelihood, Manfredo will be guided by Justin Fortune, a former heavyweight journeyman who has made a name for himself as an assistant to Roach and a conditioning coach for many of Roach’s fighters.
9. Boxing promoter Gary Shaw held his first mixed martial arts show on Saturday with the premiere of Showtime’s new Elite Xtreme Combat series. Unfortunately for Shaw, Showtime and MMA fans, the night ended anticlimactically when Frank Shamrock was disqualified for intentionally kneeing the back of Renzo Gracie’s head while Gracie was on the mat. Gracie, whose glassy eyes and wobbly legs suggested that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter suffered a concussion, was unable to continue.
10. Shaw wasn’t the only boxing name involved in mixed martial arts last week. On a Feb. 9 card in Hawaii, former heavyweight contender Jeremy Williams defeated Derek Thornton via submission to a guillotine choke. Thornton falls to 0-5, while Williams, at 2-0, is undefeated until Samuel Peter crosses over.
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